The Read On Wisconsin Literacy Advisory Committee will be meeting on May 9th to select next year’s titles for Read On Wisconsin! At this annual meeting, the members come together to discuss books and select titles for our upcoming year. Stay tuned to learn more about the selection process and be sure to check back in late May for the new ROW titles.
Author Archives: etownsend
In March 2015, Ali Khan, a senior at Middleton High School, interviewed author Mitali Perkins about her book, Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick, 2013). As part of a book trailer project with Simpson Street Free Press, Madison Public Library, and Read On Wisconsin, Ali created a book trailer of Open Mic. Mitali’s approach to adding humor to discussions of race strongly resonated with Ali. Fortunately, we were able to bring Mitali and Ali together on Skype to share thoughts on the book, racial identity, and humor. Check back soon to see excerpts from the interview! In the meantime, enjoy Ali’s book trailer for Mitali Perkin’s Open Mic.
This month we started a trial program called Read On Wisconsin Ambassadors! We’ll have different youth services librarians from across Wisconsin showcase some of the engaging, educational and easy ways that they are integrating Read On Wisconsin titles into their library programming and outreach.
For April 2015, our ROW Ambassador is Heide Piehler from the Shorewood Public Library.
Here’s what Heide told us about her storytime with April 2015 ROW titles, Lucky Duckling by Eva Moore: “I read stories about lost ducklings. We compared the pictures of the traffic stop in Lucking Ducklings to the one in Make Way for Ducklings. I had also printed photos of actual duckling rescues to demonstrate how a story in a book can be based on an actual event. …
… In between stories, we did duck themed finger games and sang duck themed songs like Six Little Ducks. We also talked about we’d name ducks and created ducks with “feathers in the back” out of peep chicks.”
Thank you to Heide Piehler and the Shorewood Public Library for the time, creativity, extra work and photos!
Check out the April 2015 ROW titles and discussion questions below.
Teenage Seth drowns in the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest only to awaken, feeble and dehydrated, in the long abandoned house of his British childhood. Trying to make sense of the inexplicable world in which he’s found himself—the entire town appears lifeless—Seth struggles to find the basic necessities he needs to survive. He meets teenage Regine and young Tomasz on one of his scrounging forays, and they warn him about the Driver, a menacing individual who seems intent on hunting all three of them down. They also begin to explain the world in which Seth has found himself, and he mightily resists what they tell him. As more and more proof presents itself, Seth is forced to revisit painful moments from his long-ago childhood, and recent events that sent him walking into the ocean intent on dying. If he believes Regine and Tomasz, then much of Seth’s life is a lie. If he rejects what they tell him, then they are the lie, and he’s come to care too much about them to believe that, either. Masterful rather than manipulative, the ambiguity of Patrick Ness’s wholly original and compelling novel gives readers a richly developed array of possibilities but leaves the meaning-making up to them when it comes to divining the situational truth of Seth’s story. But some truths exist at every point along the continuum of possibilities laid out or waiting to be imagined: Meaningful relationships matter, and a life is so much more than can be measured or felt at any single moment in time. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
1. How does the author explore the idea expressed by the title, that life is “more than this,” throughout the story? What about the importance of memory and of human connection? What are examples of details and scenes through which you see these ideas developed separately and in relation to one another?
2. Which world do you believe is real? What evidence do you have to support your idea? Do you think it is important to determine which world is “real”?
The largest passenger pigeon nesting on record happened in South Central Wisconsin in 1871. Millions of birds spanned an area of at least 850 square miles. Amy Timberlake’s novel sets a compelling human tale against this fascinating history of the natural world. Thirteen-year-old Georgie lives in a small Wisconsin town in the nesting area. She likes working in the family store and likes being known as the best shot in town. Georgie’s older sister, Agatha, longs to attend college at the university in Madison. Weeks before Agatha ran away with a group of pigeoners—people who follow the pigeons for economic opportunity. Now, the badly decomposed body of a young woman has been found in the woods outside a neighboring town. The dress on the body is Agatha’s. So, too, is the color of the woman’s hair. Georgie refuses to believe Agatha is dead, and flashbacks reveal their sometimes prickly but deeply loving bond. Determined to find Agatha, Georgie runs away on a borrowed mule (she wanted a horse) and reluctantly accepts the company of Billy McCabe, Agatha’s former suitor. Georgie’s fresh, lively, and surprisingly funny voice propels a narrative rich with language and metaphors suited to the setting and the time period. Nothing is predictable, from Georgie’s relationship with Billy McCabe to what the two of them discover in a tale about women and girls and decency and deceit that is full of humor and tenderness. Timberlake provides more information about her research, the nesting, and the tragedy of the now extinct passenger pigeon in an author’s note. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
1. How do the setting and time period of this book (frontier town in Wisconsin, 1871) influence Georgie’s first-person voice? How does Georgie defy traditional expectations for women’s roles in 19th century Wisconsin?
2. Which events in Georgie’s journey change her willingness to kill? Why do you think Georgie had a change of heart about shooting animals?
3. Georgie’s grandfather pays Billy to secretly take Georgie to Dog’s Hollow. Why does he do this, instead of encouraging Georgie to look directly for Agatha?
1. What are some of the problems Gabriella faces at school? Do you relate to her? How does Gabriella’s teacher help her to solve one of her problems?
2. Why do you think the author used two different fonts in the story? What do you think the two different fonts represent?
3. Read the prologue and the poem on page 22. Why is the main character named Gabriella and how does this name fit her? Think about your own name. How does your name fit you?
Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon. Atheneum, 2013.
1. What are three things that are similar at a baseball game in the United States and Japan? What are three things that are different?
2. What do you like to do with your grandparents?
3. Can you think of something that you do in two or more different places? (for example, eating, reading, jobs) How is it the same? How is it different?
My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, 2013.
1. Where is the baby?
2. What is the mother doing?
3. Can you find the baby’s eyes? What other body parts can you find?
Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Orchard / Scholastic Inc., 2013.
1. How many baby ducks can you count?
2. Who helped save the ducklings?
3. What would you name a baby duckling?
1. Find a poem that rhymes. Which words in the poem rhyme?
2. Do the poems describe any things you like to do?
3. What’s your favorite poem? Why do you like it?
The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb. Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2013.
I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Arthur Flowers. Illustrated by Manu Chitrakar. Designed by Guglielmo Rossi. Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2013.
Having read one or both of these books…
1. How do the visual elements of the text impact your understanding of the story? What are some of the other choices the authors and illustrators made to emotionally engage readers? How do these elements work together?
2. Cite evidence of people in these books taking action for a cause greater rather than for themselves. What compels them to do this? How do those actions impact us today?
3. What did you learn about the time periods and people involved in these stories that you didn’t know before reading these books?
1. Education was important to John Lewis from the time he was a child. How is this introduced and then explored throughout the book? What does John Lewis learn from raising chickens and reading scripture? How do these learning experiences influence his life?
2. How does the use of the graphic novel style contribute to John Lewis’s story? Does it detract in any ways?
3. Why was nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience effective with Lewis’ group’s protests? What other problems could be solved with this type of action? Are there any problems that could not (or should not) be approached this way?
1. The author believes that the response of the government and many individual Americans to people of Japanese descent in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was unjust and hysterical. How does he convey this perspective and support it in the narrative?
2. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Battalion were two units composed entirely of Japanese Americans. What were some of the reasons these men gave for fighting for a country that had treated them so poorly?
3. Why do you think it took so long for the U.S. government to apologize for the treatment of Americans of Japanese ancestry?
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young. Illustrated by Nicole Wong. Charlesbridge, 2013.
1. Why can’t chocolate grow without monkeys and other creatures? Why do you think the author chose the title, No Monkeys, No Chocolate, for this book?
2. What do you think are the important things the author wants us to know about chocolate?
3. In what other ways do plants, insects and animals depend on each other?